Marijuana And Sleep - Part 3

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

In our previous post, we discussed the ways marijuana affects sleep and what to look for when beginning to use marijuana for sleep. While marijuana can provide a myriad of benefits as a sleep aid, patients should use caution when using marijuana, as there are negative effects to come with it as well. Chronic or daily use of marijuana can actually impact sleep in a negative way. In a 2016 study, daily marijuana users experienced higher rates of insomnia and sleep disturbances than occasional marijuana users. That said, the correlation between an increase in sleep disturbances and marijuana use has not been established, and it is uncertain as to whether or not marijuana increases sleep disturbances or as to whether or not those who suffer from sleep disturbances tend to used marijuana more frequently. Studies have found, however, that those who use marijuana early on in life are at greater risk of sleep disturbances later, and 42% of daily marijuana users experienced sleep disturbances upon withdrawal. Additionally, the sleep-inducing effects of marijuana may persist into the morning if used before bedtime.

As was mentioned in the last post, our app can help you keep track of your dosing regimen, so that you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This post does not represent an endorsement by Leaf Science for our app.

Marijuana And Sleep - Part 2.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

In our previous post, we discussed how marijuana can help those who suffer from sleep disturbances. In this post, we will continue our discussion by looking into how marijuana is able to do so.

Through the use of its cannabinoids, medical marijuana is able to provide sleep-related benefits by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a bodily system responsible for regulating sleep. The cannabinoids can interact with receptors in the brain to influence the progression and duration of the sleep-wake cycle. THC reduces the amount of time one spends in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the sleep-wake cycle, which is the stage in which dreaming occurs. To the opposite effect, THC increases the duration of the slow-wave or deep sleep stage of the sleep-wake cycle. This stage is thought to play a vital role in the recuperation that results from a good night’s sleep.

When it comes to dosing marijuana for improved sleep quality, here are some things to be aware of. A strain containing a balanced cannabinoid composition is important for sleep therapy. The cannabinoid THC is known to aid in sleep, while CBD is actually an energizing and wake-promoting cannabinoid. That said, CBD can be helpful for those who want the benefits of THC without the psychoactive high as it acts as a buffer for some of these effects. The frequency of use is also important when it comes marijuana as a sleep aid; occasional use works well, but heavy or chronic use can actually have the opposite effect. To find the strain and frequency that work best for you, our app is a super helpful tool! Through journaling, you can enter the strain’s cannabinoid information and document how often you use it to figure out when marijuana helps and when it doesn’t.

While marijuana can help improve sleep, there are some things to be cautious of before beginning a medical marijuana regime. We will inform you of these in our following post. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This post does not represent an endorsement for our app on behalf of Leaf Science.

Marijuana And Sleep - Part 1.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Marijuana is beginning to gain notoriety as a sleep aid, helping those who struggle with sleep apnea and insomnia, and those who suffer from conditions like chronic pain and PTSD that are known to cause sleep disturbances. Even in healthy users, one 2013 study found volunteers who used marijuana had less difficulty falling asleep and it took a shorter amount of time to fall asleep. Another study from 1973 found THC reduced the amount of time insomniacs needed to fall asleep by over an hour. That said, proper dosing is important as too high of a dose could actually exacerbate symptoms. THC also could help those with sleep apnea by calming and stabilizing breathing. One study from 2013 found synthetic THC worked in a dose-dependent to improve breathing throughout the night in those who suffered from sleep apnea. THC was also found to help those who suffer from PTSD-related nightmares, and one study from 2009 found patients with PTSD slept longer, experienced higher quality sleep, and did not experience as many daytime flash backs the following day after synthetic THC administration. Lastly, chronic pain users attest to marijuana’s ability to improve their quality of sleep.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. In the following post, we will continue our discussion by looking into the specifics on how marijuana is able to affect sleep.

What Are The Medical Benefits of Marijuana? - Part 3.

Photo Credits: Leaf Science

Photo Credits: Leaf Science

In the last post, we continued to look at the conditions where medical marijuana is effective. It’s not done yet! We’ll continue the discussion below.

While the relationship between marijuana and heart disease is complicated, and cannabis can actually exacerbate symptoms in some users by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, scientists have found low doses of THC can reduce damage from heart attacks, and CBD can be used as a treatment for cardiovascular disease. Cannabis may also reduce the severity and lessen the impact of a stroke. Although most studies thus far have been animal studies, researchers believe medical cannabis may help treat the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, and one human study found synthetic THC improved motor-related symptoms of the disorder. Animal studies have found cannabis may slow the progression of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and many properties of cannabis could help reduce pain, relax muscles, reduce saliva, stimulate appetite, and induce sleep. Synthetic cannabinoids also improved pain symptoms in fibromyalgia patients, and one survey found patients actually preferred cannabis to any approved pharmaceutical medication.

New support is starting to accumulate for the use of marijuana for Alzheimer’s disease. Marijuana may be able to do so by reducing inflammation and the formation of plaques. Marijuana has been found to alleviate tics and be well tolerated in patients with Tourette’s syndrome. Cannabis topicals are now offered as effective treatments for varying skin disorders, and its anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties make it effective for the treatment of acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Marijuana may also help those who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea fall asleep quicker and improve breathing during sleep. Lastly, and probably most well known, is medical marijuana’s ability to treat epilepsy. Specifically, the cannabinoid CBD is well-tolerated and effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.

There are even many more conditions to talk about regarding medical marijuana treatment. Keep reading as we conclude our discussion in the next post! This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Discussing the Health Benefits of Marijuana - Part 2.

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

In our last post, we began our discussion of the different health benefits of medical marijuana, but let’s continue and discover more ways the plant can enhance one’s life.

Although medical marijuana has garnered the reputation as a gateway drug by prohibitionists and anti-marijuana activists, studies have shown marijuana can actually help ween people off of those harmful and addictive substances. One study from 2009 found people used marijuana as a replacement for alcohol, prescription, and illegal drugs, mostly due to the fact that marijuana effectively manages health issues while producing few adverse side effects, and leaving little risk for withdrawal symptoms. This is an especially important benefit in light of the opioid epidemic currently ravaging the country. Not only is marijuana a healthy alternative to harmful substances like cigarettes, but it may even benefit the lungs and improve lung capacity. One study from the Journal of the American Medical Association involving 5000 participants over the course of 20 years linked marijuana users with a higher overall lung capacity than non-users. Additionally, marijuana’s ability to act as a bronchodilator makes it a powerful tool for asthma sufferers.

Medical marijuana also acts as a sleep aid for those who suffer with insomnia or other sleep disorders. Studies have found THC reduces the time it needed to fall asleep in healthy volunteers and insomniacs, so consuming marijuana prior to sleeping can help induce sleep. That said, some studies suggest cannabis can interfere with the deeper stages of sleep where dreaming occurs, known as REM sleep. Another use for medical marijuana is in enhancing sexual health. One study from 2017 found small doses of marijuana increases sexual drive and libido, and consumers report it increases orgasms and sexual enjoyment. That said, consumers shouldn’t go overboard: some studies have linked heavy long-term use to negative side effects like lack of sexual interest, erectile dysfunction, and reduced testosterone levels.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of our discussion on the overall health benefits of medical marijuana. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Survey Finds Coloradans Use Marijuana For Sleep and Pain Relief, Not Partying

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

With the wave of legalization gaining popularity in various states across the nation, it is interesting to see the motivations behind marijuana use. In Colorado, where both recreational and medical marijuana are legal, it seems even the recreational users are using marijuana to self medicate, as opposed to using it for fun. The organization Consumer Research Around Cannabis surveyed over 1,200 marijuana users in Denver and it surroundings, and found 47.2% used cannabis as a sleep aid. Another 47.2% used it for pain relief. Falling closely behind, 45.7% used marijuana for anxiety and depression. Only 28.5% used marijuana for recreational fun, and 32.8% responded they used marijuana for expanding creativity and thought processes.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Can Marijuana Help With Fibromyalgia?

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Fibromyalgia is a condition that produces pain throughout the body and specific tender spots where the pain is characterized as deep tissue tenderness. Fibromyalgia patients also suffer symptoms similar to that of the flu, feeling fatigued and exhausted, or experiencing stiffness. Current treatments for fibromyalgia usually include exercise, cognitive behavioral treatment, mind-body awareness, and lifestyle changes, but now, some patients are looking to medical marijuana for symptom relief due to the fact it has been found to relieve pain, sleep disturbance, stiffness, mood disorders, and digestive disturbances. There are few controlled clinical studies revolving around marijuana use for fibromyalgia, but surveys have found fibromyalgia patients find medical marijuana effective for their symptoms. In a survey from Canada, one out of every eight people with fibromyalgia use marijuana or its cannabinoids for symptom relief. More men opted for marijuana than women, and marijuana users tended to be younger. Of the study’s participants, 77% of cannabis users were unemployed, leading researchers to theorize the marijuana was either ineffective at improving function, or patients who opted for marijuana were more severely affected by their symptoms from the beginning.

Another online survey of 1,300 fibromyalgia patients found 62% of patients who had tried marijuana had found it effective for treating their symptoms. The survey, which was conducted by the National Pain Foundation, also found that many sufferers claimed marijuana was the only option that helped provide symptom relief. In another survey, in which fibromyalgia sufferers were divided into groups of marijuana users and non-users, marijuana users smoked or ate marijuana not only to help with pain, but also to alleviate all of their other symptoms. Patients reported decreases in pain and stiffness and improved relaxation, sleep, and well-being, within two hours of dosing. Side effects were mild, but included dry mouth, dizziness, or sedation. Over 80% felt relief from sleeplessness. Lastly, a 2008 randomized trial published in the Journal of Pain found the administration of nabilone, which is a synthetic form of THC, improved pain and other symptoms in 40 fibromyalgia patients. A following study in 2010 found nabilone produced similar improvements.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Some Conditions Medical Marijuana Can Help Treat

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

The Medicinal Marijuana Association has compiled a list of the top five symptoms patients seek to alleviate using medical marijuana therapy.

Medical marijuana is an analgesic, and it is most commonly prescribed to treat pain. This includes neuropathic pain, AIDS, and spinal cord injuries. In addition to treating pain, medical marijuana shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical pain killers, but with a much higher safety profile, so it is equally effective in treating and reducing addiction brought on by pain killers by allowing patients to ween off of and replace these medications. Because marijuana receptors in the brain are responsible for regulating anxiety and stress, medical marijuana (especially CBD-rich strains) can be beneficial for those who suffer anxiety disorders. Marijuana can also help those who suffer from fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, and pain fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and experience higher quality of sleep.  

Medical marijuana also helps lower levels of depression with fewer side effects than anti-depressants. The medication also helps treat nausea, which is especially effective for cancer and AIDS patients. By reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and inducing appetite, medical marijuana can fight cachexia and help patients to gain weight. This also makes medical marijuana effective for those diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which irritates the small intestine. Medical marijuana therapy can reduce pain and diarrhea while increasing appetite and weight gain. Medical marijuana is also effective in treating muscle spasms and stiffness typical of multiple sclerosis. This helps MS patients improve sleep, walking, and other daily activities that would otherwise interfere with quality of life. 

This information has been provided by Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Study: Cannabidiol May Improve Sleep In Parkinson’s Disease

Photo Credit: Ian MacKenzie/Flickr

Photo Credit: Ian MacKenzie/Flickr

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics suggests cannabidiol (CBD) may help ease sleep problems in Parkinson's disease patients. In the six week study at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, four patients suffering from Parkinson's disease who also exhibited symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder received CBD. At the conclusion of the period, all four patients witnessed reduced symptoms as a result of the medication.

Investigators don't fully understand how CBD is able to offer its therapeutic effects, but they hypothesize it is because of the cannabinoid's anticholinergic activity. While the authors think continued research is still necessary, they do believe CBD provided effective relief for patients, saying, "Four patients treated with CBD had prompt and substantial reduction in the frequency of RBD-related events without side effects...Regarding symptoms after drug discontinuation, RBD complex movements returned with the same frequency and intensity of baseline after the treatment was interrupted." 

This information has been brought to you by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

MMJ for Sleep Disorders

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Sleep disorders consists of a group of disorders that disrupt normal sleeping habits, like insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. When one doesn't get the proper amount or high quality of sleep, this can have adverse side effects on other aspects of health and safety. It can decrease physical performance and alertness, impair memory and cognitive abilities, increase risk of occupational and automobile injuries, and prevent participation in certain activities. Studies show cannabis can increase the duration and quality of sleep. 

THC reduces the time it takes for insomnia sufferers to fall asleep and decreases the amount of times someone wakes up during the night. One study found those who regularly consumed THC fell asleep faster than those who did not. Another study found acute administration of cannabis facilitated the falling asleep process and increased stage 4 of sleep. An animal trial found a synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC attenuated seratonin-induced apnea by relaxing facial and mouth muscles associated with the disorder. Cannabinoids may also help those who suffer from nightmares associated with PTSD. CBD, on the other hand, has been associated with increased wakefulness, so it could be beneficial in treating the side effects of sleep deprivation throughout the day.

This information has been adapted from Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.